If the last two years weren’t a clear identifier of just how intense a nursing role is and how much of a necessity their positions are in society, it will become pretty clear within in the next 5 years. As many nurses are looking to leave the profession, and not as many are stepping in their place, we could be seeing another crisis in healthcare soon.
Nurses dove into the pandemic face first. Putting on their excessive amount of protective gear, with many shortages in the quick rise of COVID, and spent countless hours day and night, with little food and restroom opportunities, in order to keep their heads above water. With no end in sight, nurses have had to continue pushing on. Despite laws continuously being changed so people were able to get back to normal; nurses had to live with the hasty decisions as hospitals’ numbers weren’t falling. It’s fairly obvious that at this point, burnout has become more of a standard response to the pressures. Though it’s not the sole reason why many nurses are thinking about leaving the profession.
We even saw nurses taking advantage of the travel nursing route. In a time when nursing became a daily risk to their own lives, making an increased income based on what parts of the country were being hit the hardest became the best option. Some nurses were obtaining years’ worth of salary in months, were able to pay off loans during a time of uncertainty and had the ability to take breaks between contracts if need be. Yet we nonetheless find ourselves with the burning question, are nurses going to want to continue after these trying times?
The consensus seems to be no. This comes from a survey by Vivian Health’s Third Annual State of the Healthcare Workforce Survey where it was uncovered that out of 3,500 healthcare workers (where over 75% were nurses) 6 in 10 were considering leaving within the next 5 years. Up a whopping 43% from the previous year. The reasons? Firstly, of course, burnout. Along with unfavorable conditions, nurses have had to risk their own health and wellbeing to aid patients. This continuous stress and pressure for over 2 years have made burnout of the pandemic of its own. Other reasons included high-stress and pressure environments and inadequate compensation which are both strong reasons for leaving. Though compensation was increased for around 73% of healthcare jobs, it seems the work conditions are not just important in the job, but can’t even make an increase in compensation a compelling reason to continue on.
On top of this, low morale has been sweeping the industry faster than before. While low morale and compassion were something that nurses had been dealing with in the past. It was also discovered that 76% found themselves struggling with morale and that it had gotten significantly worse in just one year. 72% worse to be exact. Throw in the fact that staff mental health had of course declined over the intensity of 2021, and over 40% felt their units were constantly short-staffed, it’s really no wonder why so many nurses are looking at leaving the profession in the next 5 years.
Is there a solution? Apart from the obviously improved working conditions and better compensation, it seems the thought of nurses heading back into permanent staffing positions could see these numbers drop. Although very dependent on the circumstances.
Travel nurses have been pushing the envelope when it comes to how nurses should be compensated. The rush during the pandemic and shortages across the country found travel nurses making substantial amounts of income in a very short time. Now, those same nurses who are considering stepping back into permanent positions also want to see their compensation stay at around $65 an hour to even consider the change. With such a potentially enormous change in staffing happening over the next 5 years, if compensation isn’t something that looks to be altered, we could continue to see the boom in travel nurses as hospitals need to fill positions. Allowing for those taking on the travel nursing life to be in a fairly solid spot for the changes needing to come.
Despite a lot of talk surrounding the travel nursing industry and what’s on the horizon for them, we can all see that post-pandemic, nurses are still going to be in demand. Hospitals being filled to the brim over the past 2 years come with patients who have been on hold, or who have purposely avoided hospitals to stay safe. Meaning that when we take away COVID patients, we fill them back up with existing patients that may need just as much help. Making the demand just as high. Surgeries that have been postponed, illnesses that have gone unchecked along with anything new that shows up on the front steps of the hospitals, and travel nurses are still going to be necessary to keep hospitals afloat.
Here at TheraEx, we have been able to guide nurses into their travel nursing positions in order to help hospitals across the nation in dire need of assistance. Overall, these 13-week contracts have come with better compensation and provide nurses with the freedom to take the time they need between assignments to brush off any signs of burnout and start fresh. If you would like to find out any more information on you too can follow the same path, click here!
A drop-off in nurses could see many issues come up in healthcare in the near future. With retirement, burnout and a lack of people wanting to join the nursing workload after what has been witnessed over the past two years, it could be a crisis of its own. It seems to be pretty apparent what parts of the industry need to be altered and fixed to change minds, but whether or not that will happen is another question. Allowing for travel nurses to take up the loose ends until changes are taken seriously.